Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Working with a Professional Editor

Meet my new editor! I have begun work with professional editor, Lea Beresford, who has agreed to help me polish my novel The Long Defeat. I have various literary agents interested in my novel right now, and what better way make a good impression than to have my manuscript professionally reviewed. Lea worked for the prestigious Random House Inc., and has since gone into freelance editing for herself. I got to hear her speak at this year’s San Francisco Writer’s Conference in February and found myself impressed by both her background as well as her enthusiasm for books. After meeting her in person I provided her with a sample of my Civil War novel. She not only liked it, but later agreed to sign a contract with me in order to have the entire work professionally edited.

As an editor, Lea does more than dot every “i” and cross every “t.” She definitely keeps an eye toward spelling, grammar, and all the usual elements of proofreading, but she also offers keen conceptual advice and thoroughly reads and rereads a manuscript in order to make sure that every sentence, paragraph, and page makes sense and flows properly in its own right. So far we’re about 50 pages into my story and Lea’s edits have already worked wonders for me. As an author I’m very close to the novel I’m working on, and while it provides great passion and inspiration on the page, it doesn’t necessarily make me the most objective critic. That’s where Lea comes in. She brings a fresh perspective when examining my story, and lets me know what sentences are really good and which words may need to be edited out.

One thing I’ve already learned about myself is that I love to use adjectives and adverbs in my writing. This is fine during a first draft, but generally most adverbs will slow a reader down, and as fun as adjective are, you only need so many of them per page. These are the types of things I have learned just from my first few weeks of working with Lea Beresford. You can learn more about Lea at She Writes (which by the way is a pretty cool site). For more information on my own novel and its progress along the road towards publishing checkout more here. Thanks.